New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that government-mandated travel restrictions on his state would be a “federal act of war.”
He also said he is willing to sue Rhode Island for implementing a policy requiring visitors from New York to self-quarantine for 14 days in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.
In an interview on CNN, Cuomo reacted to President Donald Trump’s statement on Saturday that he is considering travel restrictions from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut because of high rates of coronavirus there.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, signed an executive order Thursday that permits state police and the National Guard to enforce quarantine orders on New Yorkers in the state.
“That’s a reactionary policy and I don’t think that’s legal. We’re talking to Rhode Island now. If they don’t roll back that policy, I’m going to sue Rhode Island because that clearly is unconstitutional,” Cuomo said.
“I understand the goal,” he continued. “And I could set up my borders and say I’m not letting anyone in until they take a test to see whether or not they have the virus. But there’s a point of absurdity, and I think what Rhode Island did is at the point of absurdity.”
New York — and New York City in particular — have emerged as the epicenters of coronavirus in the United States. The state has confirmed more than 52,000 cases of coronavirus, while New York City has nearly 30,000. The entire United States has reported just over 110,000 cases as of Saturday.
New Jersey has the second-highest state total with just over 8,800 confirmed cases.
Cuomo also criticized Trump’s suggestion of limiting travel from the tri-state area. Trump told reporters he is concerned about travel from New York to Florida, which is a frequent destination for retired New Yorkers.
“This would be a declaration of war on states, a federal declaration of war,” Cuomo said of any travel ban.
He said other states and cities are soon likely to be hit by a wave of coronavirus cases and that it would not be feasible to lock down all of those areas.
“I don’t think the president is looking to start a lot of wars with states about now for a lot of reasons.”
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